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Brownback Declares Emergency Over Wildfires

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has issued an emergency declaration for several counties in the western part of the state as the hot, dry conditions continue to fuel numerous wildfires.

The governor declared an emergency in Barton, Ellis, Ellsworth, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks and Russell counties due to wildfires. The wildfires have led to the partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka, as officials say that several state agencies are responding to the SEOC to keep in contact with county emergency managers and monitor the fires.

“We can see what this hot, dry weather is doing to firefighting efforts in Colorado and other states,” said Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, in a statement. “We want to make sure we stay ahead of the curve and be ready to render assistance to our county emergency management partners if needed.”

In addition to the counties listed in the emergency declaration, several other counties across the state have put burn bans in place, including Anderson, Barton, Cheyenne, Decatur, Franklin, Gove, Graham, Logan, Mitchell, Morton, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Sherman, Thomas and Trego counties.

The city of Olathe has also issued a burn ban.

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